Now, in her seventies, Ruth remembers being a girl, the daughter of a sharecropper in South Carolina, one of ten kids. They lived in an old wooden cabin. One day in spring, her fourth-grade teacher said there would be a talent show. Ruth went home troubled, thinking, “What talent do I have?” She couldn’t sleep that night and paced the back porch before the field. It was then the clouds parted and the moon, almost full, filled her face and… Read more

It isn’t long after we arrive that everyone starts pointing and telling us where we need to be and what we need to do to get there. There’s no time to really ask why. Soon, things happen and we’re thrown off course and now there’s all this effort to win their approval. If lucky, love will distract us more than suffering. If blessed, we’re broken of everyone’s plans and regrets and thrown like a hooded bird into a sea of… Read more

All things reveal the Whole. Through one rounded shell, the depth of the ocean. Through one determined bee, the entirety of spring. Through one cold withholding, the dark snake of cruelty. Through one lift of care, the long history of kindness. Through one voice speaking beyond its fear, the tidal wave of courage. Through one firm encouragement, the bedrock of all worth. Through one nail hammered, the hope of all repair. So pick up anything particular and love it till… Read more

I’m watching the sun rise over the Rockies. The foothills are rounded and closer to the living, as if bowing to let us wander among them, the way a camel might kneel so someone can mount it. Watching the hills so quietly outlive us makes me know how blessed I am to land after sixty-six years into the bones of who I am. Imagine a jagged stone kicked from a ledge by an elk, and as it falls, its edges… Read more

Sometimes, though I’m not supposed to know, I feel such a deep and timeless ache that I’m certain my heart has been alive for centuries.   Sometimes, it pulses with wounds and joys that no one can withstand alone and I go speechless.   In the actual moment of such feeling I am a flag with no country   and in the days that follow I often talk about freedom and start to read many books, never finishing them.  … Read more

The sun doesn’t stop shining because some of us are blind.   The birds don’t stop singing because some of us are deaf.   The heart doesn’t stop loving because some of us are afraid.   What lets the flower in the forest bloom though no one is watching?   A Question to Walk With: In conversation with a friend or loved one, describe one quality you were born with which no one gave you and no one can take… Read more

I was dreaming of the one who doesn’t see me and the one I’m afraid of, when our dog, shaken by the thunder, shimmied between us. I turned on my side and she curled into my belly. My wife in her sleep brought her legs up close. I rubbed our dog’s chest slowly, and she calmed down. In about thirty minutes, the storm passed, and all that was left was the softness of holding something we love in the night…. Read more

Funny how we love in the way we want to be loved, how we think of others in the way we want to be thought of, how feeling abandoned I vow never to abandon, how being termed a disappointment I slave not to disapprove, how finally disappointment and disapproval grow indiscernible as burns from ice or heat, how now I’m up in the night certain if I disappoint you I am not worthy of your love, how loving’s become an… Read more

You may have expected that enlightenment would come like zap! Instantaneous and permanent. This is unlikely. After the first “aha,” it can be thought of as the thinning of a layer of clouds. —Ram Dass Every pilgrim on a journey feels the exhilaration and glow of being liberated. Then, as the work of the new world becomes real and trying, there arises a want to go back to where we lived before awakening. Because in the challenge of growing, we… Read more

When I saw the wheelchair man with spindly limbs twist his neck to the sun, I wanted to take the newborn from the blanket and put her in his hands.   And when the blind woman knelt at the stoplight to hug her dog, I wanted to embrace everyone who ever showed me an inch of truth.   There is less and less between heart and world. In the morning, I am sure this is a deep blessing. By night,… Read more

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